Somalia mental health

one story of hope
Last year, we flmed with Abdullahi, a
mentally ill Somali man who had been in chains or 17 years. But one mental health nurse has
changed his life forever.Watch below !amal "sman#s flm with Abdullahi from $%1&.
'n August last year, Channel 4 News flmed with Abdullahi ( a mentally ill
Somali man. )e was chained for 17 years in his tin hut, li*e an animal, $+
hours a day.
)is family *e,t him loc*ed u, saying he was a danger to himself and to
others. )e was unwashed, ignored and isolated. Abdullahi#s case is not
unusual. 'n Somalia, there is little understanding or treatment of mental
health illness. -en li*e Abdullahi are the forgotten ,eo,le of Somalia (
*nown sim,ly as nin*a waalan or .the mad man..
)e used to s,end most of his days watching the world moving before him /
,lacing his chest on a cemented 0oor, his elbows su,,orting his hands
under his chin.
But after 17 years as a chained man, -aryan )assan, a mental health
nurse, came to his rescue.
She removed the shac*les of his life and gave him a life full of ho,e. She
too* him to a clinic where she wor*s. )e has been there for the ,ast eight
1hat#s the end of the chain ( you won#t be chained ever
again.-aryan )assan, a mental health nurse
With the treatment he received at the clinic, Abdullahi#s life is transformed.
)e is a healthy man.
We went bac* to flm with Abdullahi on the day he was being discharged
from the clinic.
.Abdullahi, you are leaving this morning2 you are going home,. said -aryan,
giving him the news. .1hat#s the end of chain / you won#t be chained ever
-aryan reassured him that life as a chained man was now behind him.
Before he left, he went around wishing his friends luc*, but -aryan 3uic*ly
reminded him that she was *een to move on / to ta*e him to his family.
.Let#s go, Abdullahi,. said -aryan, as she smiled.
4eturning home
Although some of his friends were sad to see him go, Abdullahi was e5cited
to begin a new cha,ter in his life as a free man. )e 3uic*ly got into the car
waiting outside for the short drive through the city.
But as he got closer to home, Abdullahi became an5ious / not sure what to
e5,ect. 6erha,s eight months was not long enough to forget the ordeal he
went through at his family home over the years.
1he tin hut, where he s,ent many years of his life, is still there / a reminder
that he could be chained again. But on arrival at the family home, Abdullahi
wal*ed away from his ,ast. )is old roommates, goats, were all on their own.
)is father 7usuf !ama received him, *een to *now Abdullahi#s e5,erience.
.)ow was the ,lace8. he as*ed.
.'t was a good ,lace,. said Abdullahi, ,utting his dad at ease.
95,ressing his admiration, -r !ama told his son .'t has done you good. 7ou
loo* well..
)owever, the children of the family were nervous about Abdullahi#s return.
)is niece and ne,hew have always been warned to stay away from him.
And they are too young to see the changes in their uncle#s condition.
Abdullahi *nows it will ta*e them time to feel safe.
:or the frst time in many years, his family welcomed him inside ( into the
living room ( a ,lace he was forbidden from entering.
.So you are home now. What are your ,lans, Abdullahi8. as*ed -aryan.
.' ;ust want to be ,art of society. ' don#t have any other ,lans at the
moment,. he re,lied.
"vercoming the stigma
't may sound sim,le, but Abdullahi *nows he faces huge challenges in
overcoming the stigma he would face in his daily life.
-aryan left Abdullahi with his family .<ncle 7usuf, here is Abdullahi. )e#s
well but we are not going to leave him. We will continue monitoring his
-aryan waved as she got into her car, saying to Abdullahi .Stay well.. She
has been *ind to him and in fact saved him from a life of waiting for death
chained in a tin hut.
With -aryan gone, his dad tried to reassure him that things have changed.
.7ou are not going bac* in there,. he ,romised.
But the ,resence of the tin hut was clearly bothering Abdullahi.
Later that afternoon, his mother came bac* from wor*. )e#s very close to
his mum, =imo >eelle. She used to visit him every 1hursday at the clinic.
.' haven#t missed a single visit,. she said. .)e#s good now. We ,ray to >od
to im,rove his health. 1he goats have his room now. 't#s their shelter..
Abdullahi is no longer isolated. 1he children were starting to rela5 around
him. And he is able to chat over a sim,le cu, of tea. Abdullahi is now a
member of the family a son, a brother, an uncle.
But will society acce,t him8 )e will always be called nin*a waalan ( .the
mad man..

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